Lighting an open playa installation cheaply

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Lighting an open playa installation cheaply

Postby SubCultist » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:49 pm

My wife and I are going to have our "burning man wedding" this coming year and are planning to build a little 10x10 gazebo/wedding chapel on the open playa. We're looking at options to light it at night for visibility and are trying to keep it cheap.

I'm a little bit leery of the $100-200 generators and we just can't afford one of the proven Hondas or Yamahas (not to mention we'd prefer not to have to fill one up in the middle of the night). I'm wondering what kind of creative solutions others have come up with for low maintenance installation lighting solutions on the cheap. All advice and tips are appreciated.
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Postby lonestoner916 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:48 pm

There are a great many threads that have to do with lighting if you just search em out, but I would go with a bunch of those little solar landscape lights and maybe a coleman lantern or two for when you are actuallly present. Another awesome (I think) idea is to modify the roof of the gazebo to icorporate a burn barrel somehow, tricky and risky I know, but what a cool effect it would be.
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Postby Bob » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:25 pm

Road flares. If your wedding outlasts a road flare, it's too fucking long.
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Postby gyre » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:02 am

How much light?
Focused or dispersed?
White or colors?
Bounced or direct?
How long?
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:20 am

You can get a set of 9v lanterns from Grainger - with the big battery they should last a long time.
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Postby Sail Man » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:25 am

LED rope lights?
EL Wire?

My wife and I bought a bunch of small hurricane style candle lanterns at the dollar store for our wedding.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:40 am

You want the lighting to be bright enough so that a mutant vehicle driving at night (and remember they often have limited visibility) will see and stop before running into/over it.
So, more than those battery operated votives is called for I think.
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Postby phil » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:17 pm

Bob wrote:Road flares. If your wedding outlasts a road flare, it's too fucking long.

If your _marriage_ outlasts a road flare ... . Never mind.
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Postby SubCultist » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:33 pm

You want the lighting to be bright enough so that a mutant vehicle driving at night will see and stop before running into/over it


This is exactly what we're trying to accomplish.

The idea is to put up the gazebo up on Sun/Mon, let anyone else use it for their ceremonies throughout the week, get married ourselves at dusk on Thurs, then burn it. We don't need to light it for the actual wedding.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:57 pm

You can get one of those battery powered strobe lights that they issue for maritime flotation vests, and put in on top of your structure. Just replace the batteries every so often.
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Postby phil » Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:21 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:You can get one of those battery powered strobe lights that they issue for maritime flotation vests, and put in on top of your structure. Just replace the batteries every so often.


I have a couple of those. They are not that visible on the playa because of all the other flashing lights that are _much_ brighter. If you use a marine strobe, I'd suggest using a few (they are cheap enough) and pointing them down so that the light the structure with each flash. The structure should be lighted, not the sky.

I think the batteries would last all night. I'm not sure they'd last longer, but check to see.
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Postby madmatt » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:58 pm

Solar powered LED Christmas lights. Cost about $10 on ebay.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:33 pm

Look on Craigslist for a Honda EU1000 or EU2000 second hand. If you're able to score one fairly cheap, it will outperform any of the other solutions, and you won't have to fill it up at night, you can make an aux fuel tank super cheap, no moving parts.
You'll be able to have real lights! And the thing will be useful at other times of the year.
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Postby phil » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:14 pm

> And the thing will be useful at other times of the year.

Like when, for instance?

Seriously, having a generator for use once a week in a year is a waste of money. Louise and I have a couple of big batteries that we use at BM, but we also use them during the year at ham radio events, Maker Faire, charity fund raisers, and the like. I wouldn't want to buy a big battery and let it sit discharged for a year, then charge it up for the Burn. What would I do with a generator? (You can't use them with amateur radio because of (1) the audible noise and (2) the radio frequency noise - generators broadcast static.)
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Postby Optic » Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:37 am

You could cover various parts of it with electroluminescent wire or LEDs? If you're just going for visibility and not actual illumination, EL wire could be just the thing you need. You can run them off of typical batteries, so you don't need a generator, and if you put it on the outline it would be easy to tell where it stops. Of course, if you did this, you'd need something else to actually light the area.
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Postby Sham » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:37 am

This was mentioned before, but in many cases, the windshields and visibilty of art cars and mutant vehicles are very limited. Some of the larger vehicles have spotters riding bikes out in front to alert the driver of dimly lit art installations and dim wit, unlit pedestrians.

Smaller art cars don't have spotters and may have obstructions on windshields or in the case of my art car, have dark tinted windows.

Using bright and noticable lighting for an art installation is really appreciated by drivers and provides a safe oasis for bikers and pedestrians.

When ligthting an art installation, don't think "cheaply", think "effective and bright". Think, secondary solar lighting if the first system should fail or the generator runs out of gas. Work some reflectors into the installation on all sides and just keep thinking about night visibility.
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Postby CapSmashy » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:19 am

phil wrote:> And the thing will be useful at other times of the year.

Like when, for instance?



Power failures and work related uses.
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Postby CapSmashy » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:33 am

As for lighting.

Mister Jellyfish turned me on to these guys for battery powered LED's.

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6483

We bought the color shifters:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6488

We used the strings nightly on our camelbacks and the original batteries we put in before the event are still working and powering the light strings.

I would say 10 strings of the white LED lights placed inside of 1/2" clear tubing attached around the structure would light it up fairly nicely for around 70 bucks.

You can also find quite a variety of battery powered LED lighting everywhere right now with the christmas stuff.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:44 am

SubCultist wrote:The idea is to put up the gazebo up on Sun/Mon, let anyone else use it for their ceremonies throughout the week, get married ourselves at dusk on Thurs, then burn it.

whoops, I only just thought of this.
You are going to have to ask for placement from the LLC, because you're going to need a burn permit. I don't know what the wacky gravel (I know it's not real gravel, hence the modifier "wacky") and fire blankets might cost, but now's the time to figure it out.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:15 pm

phil wrote:> And the thing will be useful at other times of the year.

Like when, for instance?

Seriously, having a generator for use once a week in a year is a waste of money. Louise and I have a couple of big batteries that we use at BM, but we also use them during the year at ham radio events, Maker Faire, charity fund raisers, and the like. I wouldn't want to buy a big battery and let it sit discharged for a year, then charge it up for the Burn. What would I do with a generator? (You can't use them with amateur radio because of (1) the audible noise and (2) the radio frequency noise - generators broadcast static.)


Are you kidding?? You think generators are only sold to Burners?
Have you tried using a GOOD generator with your ham gear?
I'll spare everyone three pages about what another use for a generator would be, a few of which you already named. Jeez... you can't be serious... or you've never used a good one.
Bottom line, there's no other practical way to get a lot of power to really light something up.

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Postby motskyroonmatick » Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:59 pm

Crypto, I believe the "wacky gravel" is decomposed granite. It really looks like crushed granite 3/4- to me.

What I wonder about it is how the hell does DPW clean it up? I certainly hope they use a Vac Truck because shoveling it would be hell!! I mean there is allot of it out there.
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Postby Sham » Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:10 am

I found recently at Home Depot a package of 10 5-LED flashlights* for $10. I got my calculator out and figured that these are just $1.00 each--including batteries. There are brackets made that are for hanging brooms and shovels up, that would be perfect for these lights. The lights could be mounted to light up pillars of an art installation or shined on reflective material for some amazing night effects. These lights are so cheap, that spares could be kept on hand for quick change outs if the batteries should die.



*if you're thinking of a practical useful thing to gift to someone cheap, think of these lights and keep extras in your backpack to give away to darkwads! This is much more useful and substantial than a chemical glow stick, for about the same price and they would be appreciated much more than a plastic whistle from Oriental Trading.


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Postby AntiM » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:56 am

motskyroonmatick wrote:Crypto, I believe the "wacky gravel" is decomposed granite. It really looks like crushed granite 3/4- to me.

What I wonder about it is how the hell does DPW clean it up? I certainly hope they use a Vac Truck because shoveling it would be hell!! I mean there is allot of it out there.


Don't they put something under the gravel? Wall board (dry wall?)
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Postby Elorrum » Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:11 am

I'm seeing a lot of rechargeable led worklights this year. compact tube shape. Under 20 dollars. I am tempted to buy one, but so far, the "you don't NEED ANY more lights" angel on one shoulder is speaking louder than the "COOL! get it!" devil on the other. My sister told me this summer, when I gifted her a neat single battery led penlight, that they are very well stocked now with flashlights and pocket knives/multi tools, thank you. I daily remind myself that this is a shopping season for gifts, and not things I covet.
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Postby Bob » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:26 am

For any burn you're supposed to make arrangements with the art department re: scheduling, safety, and environmental concerns.

The "gravel" is granite quarry fines trucked up from Spanish Springs, north of Sparks. Unless you bring some out yourself, just use corrugated roofing or something.

Or carry it over to where they burn the Man and toss it on the flames, or in one of the public burn platforms along the Esplanade.

DPW uses a Zamboni, of course.
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Postby phil » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:45 am

> Or carry it over to where they burn the Man and toss it on the flames

Remember when gomonk burned his mini-Man on the Man's burn blanket the day after the burn? Got him ticketed for an unathorized burn.
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Postby Bob » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:06 pm

Okay, then just hand it over to DPW.

They have a composting facility.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:35 pm

phil wrote:> Or carry it over to where they burn the Man and toss it on the flames

Remember when gomonk burned his mini-Man on the Man's burn blanket the day after the burn? Got him ticketed for an unathorized burn.


Is that why he hasn't been back?
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Postby phil » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:06 pm

> Is that why he hasn't been back?

I didn't know he hasn't been back. shrug - I don't speak for gomonk, so if he hasn't been back, I have no idea why.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:30 am

Shambala wrote:I found recently at Home Depot a package of 10 5-LED flashlights* for $10. I got my calculator out and figured that these are just $1.00 each--including batteries. There are brackets made that are for hanging brooms and shovels up, that would be perfect for these lights. The lights could be mounted to light up pillars of an art installation or shined on reflective material for some amazing night effects. These lights are so cheap, that spares could be kept on hand for quick change outs if the batteries should die.



*if you're thinking of a practical useful thing to gift to someone cheap, think of these lights and keep extras in your backpack to give away to darkwads! This is much more useful and substantial than a chemical glow stick, for about the same price and they would be appreciated much more than a plastic whistle from Oriental Trading.


Image


I've tried those... they're junk! I brought several to BM, most quit functioning and/or literally fell apart before I even got there!
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